iFollow Discipleship Resource

Discipleship: What Is It, and Why Should We Care?

by Dan Day, Director
NAD Church Resource Center
December 9, 2009


Adventists don't have a lengthy history with "discipleship." So, I was not surprised when I discussed with a pastor friend of mine our new iFollow discipleship resource (coming out in the Spring of 2010) and he returned: "What do you mean by discipleship?"

I don't mean in saying that we don't have much history with discipleship that we're unfamiliar with the elements involved with following Jesus. In discussing discipleship, we're exploring how we can become more successful in our spiritual journey. But journey language typically involves a rather specific, linear perspective. We start in one place and then continue on an upward path. We're "growing in Christ." We're learning how to be "more disciplined, spiritually," "more useful to God," and "more kind and loving." Right?

Some in today's modern culture, though, have trouble with this linear language. "What evidence do you have that you're getting better?" they ask. They point at an elderly Christian who is crotchety and seems to be increasingly rigid in his or her views and say: "Is that what you mean?" They point at someone with years of Christian service, but who has "fallen from grace" in some public humiliation, and say: "Is that what you mean?" And even more pointedly, they look at a church filled with "pew-sitters," who are not in any way involved with ministry in their communities, and they say: "Is that what you mean?"

If discipleship really means: "getting better and better, day-by-day," then we need to provide some pretty solid metrics, don't we? We need to be able to show that growth is happening in measurable ways and that it is happening to most of us.

Or do we? How would you define discipleship? How would you characterize the Christian's spiritual journey? The rest is yet to come... 


Previous Articles

The iFollow Journey (Jul. 2, 2010)
The iFollow Discipleship Resource (Mar. 10, 2010)
Discipleship Elements: How to Become a Nurturing Community (Feb. 24, 2010)
Discipleship Elements: How to Grow in Christ (Jan. 28, 2010)
Discipleship Elements: How to Follow Jesus (Jan. 13, 2010)
iFollow: What It Is, and How to Use It (Jan. 1, 2010)
Discipleship: Learning a New Language (Dec. 16, 2009)
Discipleship: What Is It, and Why Should We Care? (Dec. 9, 2009)
Discipleship: Just About Being Spiritually "Buff"? (Nov. 18, 2009)
Discipleship: If We Saw It Would We Recognize It? (Nov. 6, 2009)